Stormwa­ter & Sew­er Management

Com­bined Sew­er Over­flow (CSO) and Stormwa­ter Management

The mis­sion of Mar­i­on’s Stormwa­ter Man­age­ment pro­gram is to devel­op, imple­ment, oper­ate and equi­tably fund the acqui­si­tion, con­struc­tion, oper­a­tion, main­te­nance and reg­u­la­tion of stormwa­ter col­lec­tion and drainage sys­tems and activ­i­ties with­in the city includ­ing improve­ments to the city’s exist­ing com­bined sewers.

The pro­gram shall safe­ly and effi­cient­ly con­trol stormwa­ter run-off, enhance pub­lic health and safe­ty, pro­tect lives and prop­er­ty, facil­i­tate mobil­i­ty and enable access to homes and busi­ness­es through­out the com­mu­ni­ty dur­ing storms. The pro­gram shall also con­trol the dis­charge of pol­lu­tants con­tained in stormwa­ter to receiv­ing waters in order to enhance the nat­ur­al resources of the community.

The Mis­sissinewa Riv­er and its trib­u­taries are one of Mar­i­on’s most valu­able resources. The pro­tec­tion and enhance­ment of this resource improves the qual­i­ty of life for Mar­i­on cit­i­zens and assists in attract­ing new busi­ness­es, jobs, and res­i­dents to our community.

Wet Weath­er Challenges

The City of Mar­i­on faces two types of prob­lems caused by rain events and snow melt:

  • Sur­face water drainage prob­lem areas are defined as areas where water from rain­storms fre­quent­ly impedes mobil­i­ty and lim­its access to homes and busi­ness­es through­out the community.
  • Sur­face water qual­i­ty prob­lems in the Mar­i­on area are caused by a com­bi­na­tion of point and non-point sources of pol­lu­tion. This com­bi­na­tion of pol­lu­tant sources can con­tribute to a decrease in water qual­i­ty in Mar­i­on’s water­ways dur­ing rain events and snow melt.
  • In many cas­es these two prob­lems are inter­re­lat­ed and long-term solu­tions require strate­gic plan­ning to avoid future com­pli­ca­tions, but for the pur­pos­es of this dis­cus­sion the two class­es of prob­lems will be looked at separately.

Sur­face Water Drainage (read more)

The City of Mar­i­on main­tains approx­i­mate­ly 500 miles of san­i­tary sew­er, com­bined sew­er and sep­a­rat­ed storm sew­er lines. Main­te­nance activ­i­ties include the clean­ing of catch basins and sew­er lines and the replace­ment of dam­aged storm water col­lec­tion struc­tures and sew­er pipes. The City con­tin­u­al­ly works to iden­ti­fy and resolve prob­lem sur­face water drainage areas. The projects imple­ment­ed to address these areas vary wide­ly in size and scope. In some cas­es, drainage prob­lems can be resolved by sim­ply clear­ing an obstruc­tion in a catch basin or sew­er line, but in oth­ers, the prob­lem is more com­plex and requires the design and con­struc­tion of new infra­struc­ture. Thor­ough plan­ning is required in these sit­u­a­tions to ensure that the pro­posed project does not adverse­ly impact oth­er prop­er­ties or the water qual­i­ty of the receiv­ing streams. 

Sur­face Water Qual­i­ty (read more)

The State of Indi­ana has water qual­i­ty stan­dards that all waters of the state are required to meet. The Indi­ana Water Qual­i­ty Stan­dards rule is to restore and main­tain the chem­i­cal, phys­i­cal, and bio­log­i­cal integri­ty of the waters of the state.” 

To achieve this goal, there are spe­cif­ic lim­its for var­i­ous pol­lu­tants out­lined in the rule. City, coun­ty, and state gov­ern­ment agen­cies col­lect sam­ples from streams, rivers, and lakes through­out the state to deter­mine if the water qual­i­ty stan­dards are being met. 

Over the past ten to fif­teen years a large num­ber of sam­ples have been col­lect­ed from the Mis­sissinewa Riv­er and its trib­u­taries in the Grant Coun­ty area in order to deter­mine com­pli­ance with Indi­ana Water Qual­i­ty Stan­dards. These sam­ples were col­lect­ed and ana­lyzed by numer­ous gov­ern­ment agen­cies and pri­vate orga­ni­za­tions. A detailed analy­sis of all avail­able sam­ples from the past 10 years indi­cates that E. coli is the only pol­lu­tant found in excess of the water qual­i­ty stan­dards in a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of the sam­ples. E. coli is present in the intesti­nal tracts of all warm-blood­ed ani­mals and is used to indi­cate the pres­ence of fecal mat­ter in water. It is true that some types of E. coli can make you sick, but fecal mat­ter can also con­tain an array of oth­er bac­te­ria and virus­es caus­ing var­i­ous ill­ness­es. The analy­sis of the avail­able data indi­cates that a high per­cent­age of the sam­ples col­lect­ed from the Mis­sissinewa Riv­er in the Grant Coun­ty area after rain events con­tain E. coli in amounts exceed­ing the water qual­i­ty stan­dards. E. coli amounts in excess of the water qual­i­ty stan­dard were also observed in sam­ples col­lect­ed dur­ing dry weath­er peri­ods. This leads to the con­clu­sion that E. coli is enter­ing the Mis­sissinewa Riv­er through a num­ber of dif­fer­ent sources. 

Pos­si­ble Sources of E. coli in the Mis­sissinewa Riv­er (read more)

Upstream sources:

This includes all of the sources that con­tribute to the con­cen­tra­tion of E. coli present in the Mis­sissinewa Riv­er when it enters the Mar­i­on area from the upstream direc­tion. Ini­tial find­ings indi­cate that this source rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the total E. coli pol­lu­tant load observed in the Mar­i­on area. 

Waste­water treat­ment plants:

When the weath­er is dry, the City of Mar­i­on Waste­water Treat­ment Plant does an excel­lent job of treat­ing all of Mar­i­on’s san­i­tary sewage. But dur­ing storms or snowmelt events, the amount of com­bined sewage in the sew­er sys­tem can exceed the treat­ment capac­i­ty of the waste­water treat­ment plant. When this occurs, com­bined sewage is dis­charged into the Mis­sissinewa Riv­er from out­falls spec­i­fied in Mar­i­on’s Nation­al Pol­lu­tant Dis­charge Elim­i­na­tion Sys­tem per­mit. The City is work­ing to address this issue through the Com­bined Sew­er Sys­tem Long Term Con­trol Plan. 

Com­bined Sew­er Overflows:

Com­bined sew­ers are designed to car­ry both san­i­tary sewage and rain­wa­ter in the same pipes. CSOs dis­charge when the vol­ume of rain­wa­ter enter­ing the com­bined sew­er sys­tem caus­es the com­bi­na­tion of san­i­tary sewage and rain­wa­ter in the sys­tem to exceed the capac­i­ty of the pipes that car­ry waste to the waste­water treat­ment plant. The points in the com­bined sew­er sys­tem designed to relieve this excess capac­i­ty are CSO dis­charge points. Dur­ing sig­nif­i­cant rain events, com­bined san­i­tary sewage and rain­wa­ter is dis­charged into the Mis­sissinewa Riv­er at these loca­tions. The City is cur­rent­ly work­ing to deter­mine the con­tri­bu­tion to the total E. coli load from CSO dis­charges, while devel­op­ing a Com­bined Sew­er Sys­tem Long Term Con­trol Plan to address the CSO issue.

Urban Stormwa­ter:

Urban stormwa­ter includes run-off from streets, park­ing lots, rooftops, and lawns that enters the stormwa­ter col­lec­tion sys­tem through catch basins placed along city streets. The con­cen­tra­tions of E. coli in urban stormwa­ter are low­er than some oth­er sources, but it is still a poten­tial­ly sig­nif­i­cant source because of the large vol­ume of stormwa­ter that enters the Mis­sissinewa Riv­er when it rains.

Fail­ing Sep­tic Systems:

Sev­er­al thou­sand homes are ser­viced by sep­tic sys­tems in Grant Coun­ty. When these sys­tems fail to oper­ate prop­er­ly, untreat­ed sewage can enter drainage tiles, the ground­wa­ter sup­ply, or per­co­late to the sur­face and even­tu­al­ly enter streams that dis­charge into the Mis­sissinewa Riv­er. The amount of E. coli con­tributed from fail­ing sep­tic sys­tems is dif­fi­cult to quan­ti­fy. The City con­tin­ues to extend sew­er ser­vice to areas served by sep­tic sys­tems when it is appro­pri­ate, and the Grant Coun­ty Health Depart­ment dili­gent­ly inves­ti­gates cit­i­zen con­cerns regard­ing fail­ing sep­tic sys­tems. It is essen­tial to prop­er­ly main­tain your sep­tic sys­tem to ensure prop­er operation. 

Com­bined Sew­er Overflow

The Mis­sissinewa Riv­er is a beau­ti­ful water­way and a won­der­ful resource for the cit­i­zens of Mar­i­on. The riv­er pro­vides a place to enjoy a wide range of recre­ation­al activ­i­ties includ­ing fish­ing, canoe­ing, and observ­ing wildlife. We must all work togeth­er to pro­tect and enhance this resource for Mar­i­on’s cit­i­zens and future generations.

Pro­tect­ing water qual­i­ty and nat­ur­al habi­tat in the Mis­sissinewa Riv­er and its trib­u­taries starts with look­ing at the sources of stream pol­lu­tion. Mar­i­on’s com­bined sew­er over­flows (CSOs) are one of many sources of pol­lu­tion con­tribut­ing to the water qual­i­ty of the Mis­sissinewa River. 

What is a Com­bined Sew­er Over­flow (CSO)?

To under­stand com­bined sew­er over­flows, it is impor­tant to under­stand what a com­bined sew­er sys­tem is. Over 100 years ago, cities rec­og­nized the need to con­struct sew­ers to car­ry sewage away from homes and busi­ness­es to pro­tect pub­lic health. Orig­i­nal­ly, sew­ers were designed to car­ry both sewage and storm water direct­ly to streams and rivers. The nat­ur­al bio­log­i­cal process­es in streams and rivers broke down the organ­ic waste from the sewage. This sys­tem was ade­quate until the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion cre­at­ed too much waste for the riv­er to clean up nat­u­ral­ly. Today, sci­en­tists under­stand that the bac­te­ria and virus­es con­tained with­in com­bined sewage can cre­ate a poten­tial health haz­ard when dis­charged into our waterways.

Cur­rent­ly the com­bined sew­er sys­tem car­ries sewage from our homes and busi­ness­es to the Mar­i­on waste­water treat­ment plant instead of the riv­er. How­ev­er, when it rains or there is a large amount of snow melt, excess water that enters the com­bined sew­er sys­tem through catch basins and oth­er drainage struc­tures can exceed the capac­i­ty of the com­bined sew­er sys­tem and waste­water treat­ment plant. When this occurs, the excess water is dis­charged into the Mis­sissinewa Riv­er through CSO out­fall structures.

What impacts do CSOs have on water quality?

Sewage, house­hold, auto­mo­bile, and oth­er waste flow­ing into rivers and streams can cause:

A health haz­ard for peo­ple — com­bined sewage may con­tain harm­ful bac­te­ria and virus­es such as E. coli that can make peo­ple sick. A few things you can do to pro­tect your­self and your fam­i­ly: (read more)

  • Peo­ple should avoid con­tact with all urban streams in the Mar­i­on area dur­ing, and for at least 72 hours after, a rain event or a peri­od of rapid snowmelt.
  • Par­ents should teach chil­dren to nev­er play in or near a stream or riv­er with­out adult supervision.
  • Every­one should thor­ough­ly wash their hands and face after con­tact with any stream, riv­er, or lake.
  • If you wade in or fall into a water­way, you should take a bath or show­er when you return home.

Dam­age to habi­tat and aquat­ic life — Organ­ic waste, like sewage, can con­tribute to impaired water qual­i­ty by caus­ing dis­solved oxy­gen lev­els in our streams to fall. Oth­er chem­i­cals that build up on streets and rooftops can dam­age the habi­tat of dif­fer­ent kinds of aquat­ic life.

A nui­sance to peo­ple near the riv­er — Sewage and trash from CSOs can look and smell bad, dri­ving peo­ple away from the area and low­er­ing the qual­i­ty of life for all of Mar­i­on’s citizens.

What is being done about Mar­i­on’s CSOs?

The City of Mar­i­on is work­ing to solve the prob­lems caused by CSOs. The City’s sew­er sys­tem main­te­nance pro­gram now vir­tu­al­ly elim­i­nates all dry-weath­er over­flow. Exist­ing sew­er sys­tems and waste­water treat­ment facil­i­ties are being used more effi­cient­ly and effec­tive­ly to reduce overflows.

The City of Mar­i­on is devel­op­ing a long-term plan that includes goals for CSOs, con­trol mea­sure options, and their cor­re­spond­ing costs and effec­tive­ness. Address­ing CSOs can be expen­sive, so we must con­sid­er our options care­ful­ly and find the most cost-effec­tive use for avail­able resources.

You can be part of the solu­tion. By under­stand­ing our sys­tems, and by keep­ing informed along the way, you can help your gov­ern­ment make the best deci­sions on this seri­ous and com­plex issue. Your par­tic­i­pa­tion is vital to ensure future gen­er­a­tions will be able to enjoy clean waterways.

CSO Pub­lic Notification

The City of Mar­i­on has a Com­bined Sew­er Over­flow (CSO) Noti­fi­ca­tion Pro­gram designed to edu­cate and noti­fy the pub­lic about the city’s com­bined sew­er sys­tem. The pro­gram uses a CSO infor­ma­tion line, gen­er­al infor­ma­tion web­site, and signs post­ed on water­ways at var­i­ous loca­tions through­out the city to pro­vide infor­ma­tion to inter­est­ed cit­i­zens. Learn more: www​.mar​i​onu​til​i​ties​.com

Down­spout Disconnection

In an effort to reduce the amount of storm water that enters Mar­i­on’s sew­er sys­tem when it rains, the city has a down­spout dis­con­nec­tion pro­gram. In past years, there have been orga­nized ini­tia­tives that ver­i­fied the dis­con­nec­tion of down­spouts and sump pumps from the sew­er sys­tem. This phase of the pro­gram asks Mar­i­on’s cit­i­zens to con­tin­ue to part­ner with the city to improve water qual­i­ty, pro­tect our homes from flood­ing, and reduce oper­a­tional costs.

Rain­wa­ter that enters the city’s san­i­tary and com­bined sew­er sys­tem takes up valu­able capac­i­ty in the sew­er lines. When storm water rapid­ly enters the com­bined sew­ers, the sys­tem can become over­loaded result­ing in the dis­charge of com­bined sewage to the Mis­sissinewa Riv­er. Exces­sive amounts of storm water enter­ing the city sew­er sys­tem can also result in flood­ing of streets and homes.

Why should I dis­con­nect? (read more)

Com­bined sew­er over­flows dis­charge when the vol­ume of rain­wa­ter or snow melt enter­ing the com­bined sew­er sys­tem caus­es the com­bi­na­tion of san­i­tary sewage and rain­wa­ter in the sys­tem to exceed the capac­i­ty of the pipes that car­ry waste to the waste­water treat­ment plant.

The points in the com­bined sew­er sys­tem designed to relieve this excess capac­i­ty are CSO dis­charge points. Dur­ing sig­nif­i­cant rain events, com­bined san­i­tary sewage and rain­wa­ter is dis­charged to the Mis­sissinewa Riv­er at these locations.

By elim­i­nat­ing as many sources of inflow as pos­si­ble, you are help­ing to pro­tect the water qual­i­ty of the Mis­sissinewa Riv­er and pro­tect­ing your fam­i­ly and prop­er­ty from pos­si­ble sew­er back­ups and over­flows. Also, the reduc­tion of stormwa­ter into the sew­er col­lec­tion sys­tem results in decreased main­te­nance and oper­a­tional cost for the City of Marion.

When down­spouts and sump pumps are dis­con­nect­ed from the sew­er, both the amount of stormwa­ter and rate that stormwa­ter enters the sew­er sys­tem are reduced. Part of the water from these dis­con­nec­tions will infil­trate into the ground and nev­er enter the sew­er sys­tem. The part of the water that does run off of our yards and enters the sew­er sys­tem through a catch basin does so much slow­er than water from a direct con­nec­tion. The reduc­tion in stormwa­ter vol­ume, com­bined with the delayed entry of stormwa­ter into the sew­er sys­tem, assists in reduc­ing the num­ber of times the sew­er sys­tem becomes overloaded.

Please help us to keep our water­ways clean, pro­tect our homes, and reduce cost.

Storm Water Pol­lu­tion Control

Rain­wa­ter that falls on city streets, park­ing lots, rooftops, indus­tri­al prop­er­ties and lawns often becomes pol­lut­ed by auto­mo­tive flu­ids, indus­tri­al chem­i­cals, and fer­til­iz­ers before it enters the city’s com­bined and sep­a­rate storm sew­er sys­tems through catch basins and oth­er drainage structures.

Pol­lut­ed stormwa­ter runoff is then car­ried through the city’s storm sew­er sys­tems and even­tu­al­ly dis­charged into our local rivers and streams with­out receiv­ing any treat­ment. These pol­lu­tants can adverse­ly affect water qual­i­ty in local water­ways, there­by cre­at­ing a poten­tial health haz­ard and degrad­ing aquat­ic life habi­tat. The City of Mar­i­on con­tin­u­al­ly works to reduce the quan­ti­ty of pol­lu­tants enter­ing area water­ways con­tained in pol­lut­ed stormwa­ter runoff.

The Fed­er­al Clean Water Act and State of Indi­ana Admin­is­tra­tive Code requires the City of Mar­i­on to devel­op and imple­ment a stormwa­ter man­age­ment pro­gram that imple­ments six class­es of con­trol mea­sures to address pol­lut­ed stormwa­ter runoff. The fol­low­ing pro­vides a brief sum­ma­ry of each of the required con­trol mea­sures. The City is cur­rent­ly imple­ment­ing a wide range of projects to meet all reg­u­la­to­ry require­ments. (read more)

Pub­lic Edu­ca­tion and Outreach

This includes dis­trib­ut­ing edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als and per­form­ing out­reach to inform cit­i­zens about the impacts pol­lut­ed storm water runoff dis­charges can have on water quality.

Pub­lic Par­tic­i­pa­tion and Involvement

Pro­vid­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for cit­i­zens to par­tic­i­pate in pro­gram devel­op­ment and imple­men­ta­tion, includ­ing effec­tive­ly pub­li­ciz­ing pub­lic hear­ings and/​or encour­ag­ing cit­i­zen rep­re­sen­ta­tives on a storm water man­age­ment committee.

Illic­it Dis­charge Detec­tion and Elimination

Devel­op­ing and imple­ment­ing a plan to detect and elim­i­nate illic­it dis­charges to the storm sew­er sys­tem (includes devel­op­ing a sys­tem map and inform­ing the com­mu­ni­ty about haz­ards asso­ci­at­ed with ille­gal dis­charges and improp­er dis­pos­al of waste).

Con­struc­tion Site Runoff Control

Devel­op­ing, imple­ment­ing, and enforc­ing an ero­sion and sed­i­ment con­trol pro­gram for con­struc­tion activ­i­ties that dis­turb one or more acres of land.

Post Con­struc­tion Runoff Control

Devel­op­ing, imple­ment­ing, and enforc­ing a pro­gram to address dis­charges of post-con­struc­tion storm water runoff from new devel­op­ment and rede­vel­op­ment areas. Applic­a­ble con­trols could include pre­ven­ta­tive actions such as pro­tect­ing vul­ner­a­ble areas (i.e. wet­lands) or the use of struc­tur­al BMPs such as grassed swales or buffer strips.

Pol­lu­tion Pre­ven­tion Good Housekeeping

Devel­op­ing and imple­ment­ing a pro­gram with the goal of pre­vent­ing or reduc­ing pol­lu­tant runoff from munic­i­pal oper­a­tions. The pro­gram must include munic­i­pal staff train­ing on pol­lu­tion pre­ven­tion mea­sures and tech­niques (e.g.: reg­u­lar street sweep­ing, reduc­tion in the use of pes­ti­cides or street salt, or fre­quent catch-basin cleaning).

How You Can Help

The fol­low­ing list is just a few of the things you can do to pro­tect our water­ways. (read more)

Get Involved

This is one of the most impor­tant things you can do to pro­tect our streams, rivers and lakes. Make an effort to find out what is going on in your com­mu­ni­ty regard­ing water qual­i­ty issues. You can do this by attend­ing pub­lic meet­ings, join­ing a local water­shed orga­ni­za­tion or sched­ul­ing a time to meet with local offi­cials. The City encour­ages you to ask ques­tions when you see things going on you are curi­ous about. 

Around the House

Dis­con­nect and prop­er­ly route down­spouts at your homes and busi­ness­es. Down­spouts con­nect­ed to the sew­er sys­tem can con­tribute to sew­er back-ups and com­bined sew­er over­flows. For addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion, please refer to the Down­spout Dis­con­nec­tion section.

Prop­er­ly main­tain your sep­tic sys­tem. If you have a sep­tic sys­tem at your home, it is impor­tant to ensure that it is func­tion­ing properly.

Dis­pose of house­hold chem­i­cals and pet waste prop­er­ly. Dis­pose of your home chem­i­cals such as paint, sol­vents, clean­ing agents, and mer­cury prop­er­ly. For infor­ma­tion about how to dis­pose of these mate­ri­als, con­tact the East Cen­tral Indi­ana Sol­id Waste Dis­trict at 7656402535. Nev­er pour any of these mate­ri­als into a sew­er or storm drain. You may put small amounts of pet waste in the trash, the toi­let, or bury it.

Fix plumb­ing leaks and con­serve water. A tiny leak can add up to a gal­lon in min­utes. Sav­ing water saves you mon­ey and puts less water in the sew­er. Less water in the sew­er makes it less like­ly to over­flow in a storm.

Sweep up debris on side­walks instead of wash­ing it away with a gar­den hose. By vol­ume, sed­i­ment is the largest pol­lu­tant enter­ing the nation’s streams and rivers. The dirt and grav­el that runs off of our side­walks and streets has a neg­a­tive impact on the water qual­i­ty of our streams and rivers.

Your Car

Dri­ve less. Take the bus, car­pool, ride a bike, or plan your trips to be more effi­cient. You’ll save mon­ey on gaso­line and reduce street pol­lu­tion wash­ing into our streams and rivers.

Dis­pose of your motor oil, antifreeze, bat­ter­ies, and oth­er waste prod­ucts prop­er­ly. There are cur­rent­ly numer­ous loca­tions to recy­cle these mate­ri­als. For infor­ma­tion about how to dis­pose of these mate­ri­als, con­tact the East Cen­tral Indi­ana Sol­id Waste Dis­trict.

Keep your car tuned, and peri­od­i­cal­ly check for flu­id leaks. This keeps oil from leak­ing onto the ground and can increase gas mileage — sav­ing you mon­ey and pro­tect­ing the envi­ron­ment by reduc­ing water and air pollution.

Wash your car or oth­er out­door equip­ment at a com­mer­cial car­wash instead of at your home. The grease, oil and oth­er chem­i­cals that we wash off of these items can run off of our dri­ve­ways and lawns and enter the storm sew­er sys­tem and even­tu­al­ly dis­charge to local streams and rivers. Even the soaps we use to clean these items can cause prob­lems for some aquat­ic life.

Use kit­ty lit­ter or oth­er absorbents to soak up spills. Nev­er wash spills away with a gar­den hose. Pour kit­ty lit­ter on oil leaks and oth­er house­hold chem­i­cal spills to soak them up.

Around the Yard

Use less lawn chem­i­cals and always fol­low the label direc­tions. Rain can wash away your fer­til­iz­ers and pes­ti­cides, which is a big waste for you, and tox­ic for fish.

Clear street gut­ters and storm drains of trash, leaves and grass. Trash may clog the drains and cause your street to flood in a storm. Leaves and grass wash into our streams and rivers where they decay, reduc­ing the oxy­gen in the water that fish need to sur­vive. Trash and debris can also cause numer­ous prob­lems for fish and oth­er aquat­ic animals.

Com­post leaves, branch­es, and grass clip­pings. Com­post makes great mulch for your gar­den or flowerbed. Leave grass clip­pings on the lawn as you mow to return nutri­ents to your lawn.

Pick up trash and lit­ter in your yard. Much of the trash in our yards and along road­ways will even­tu­al­ly find its way to a stream or riv­er. This not only caus­es a nui­sance, but fish and some birds can become trapped in some types of trash, and can die.

Files Attached:

Trash, Abandoned Vehicle, Weeds

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